If you can’t face student debt, didn’t get the results you wanted, or simply aren’t interested in three more years of eduction, there are plenty of routes into careers that that don’t require you to have a degree.
More than half of the UK’s graduates would “think again” about going to university, believing it may not actually be the best way to get a good job, research Future-Mag found.
These are the top jobs you can land without a degree — and how to get into them.
You don’t have to go to university to become a nurse anymore — the UK government just announced a £172m ($228m) investment into nursing, which will allow healthcare employers to take on up to 2,000 nursing apprentices every year until 2024.
If you have five A* to C-grade GCSEs and have been considering becoming a nurse, but don’t want to attend university as a full-time student, this could be the perfect opportunity for you. A typical four-year apprenticeship could allow you to earn a salary while your tuition costs are paid, and at the end you’ll be ale to register as a fully-qualified nurse, earning between £24,907 and £37,890 a year.
2. Air traffic controller
If you’re physically and mentally fit, as well as up for something challenging and demanding, you might like the sound of becoming an air traffic controller, giving advice to airline pilots to help them take off and land safely and on schedule.
You’ll need five A* to C-grade GCSEs or equivalent, including English and maths, and will have to meet the basic medical requirements set down by the Civil Aviation Authority, but if you do you could end up making between £17,000 and £50,000 a year.
The National Air Traffic Control Service (NATS) has developed a series of games that can help you decide if this career is for you.
You can become a solicitor by training on the job, as solicitor apprenticeships were approved in 2015. You’ll need good A-levels, and will have to pass a series of difficult exams over five or six years, but if you pass, you could end up making between £25,000 and £100,000 a year to provide legal advice.
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4. Visual effects artist
If you find yourself particularly interested in the special effects when you go to the movies or watch your favourite fantasy series on Netflix, you might enjoy lending a hand to senior VFX artists who produce them, eventually becoming employed by post-production companies to work on adverts, TV and films.
5. Computer forensic analyst
These cyber security experts investigate and thwart crime by analysing electronic data to uncover theft, fraud, terrorism, and other cyber crimes. You might work for the police, security services, or computer security specialists, and depending on where you end up, you have a shot at earning between £20,000 and £60,000 a year — as these professionals are in short supply and high demand.
You can get there by successfully applying for one of the many cyber security higher — level 4 — apprenticeships offered by major infrastructure and energy companies, as well as the security services.
6. Estate agent
You could make between £15,000 and £40,000 selling and renting commercial properties, potentially earning a commission on top of an annual salary for acting as a negotiator between buyers and sellers.
Some estate agents offer intermediate apprenticeships that allow you to earn a salary as a junior estate agent, or you could start as a trainee sales negotiator and learn on the job.
7. Public relations officer
Public relations (PR) officers manage an organisation or individuals’ public image and reputation. This could involve planning publicity campaigns for politicians, providing statements or social media content for public figures, or writing and editing press releases, speeches and websites for an annual salary of £18,000 to £90,000.
You’ll usually need four or five A* to C-grade GCSEs to get onto a public relations assistant higher apprenticeship, and it may be helpful, although not necessary, do a relevant subject at college, like a foundation certificate in marketing.
8. Youth worker
If you consider yourself a “people person” and like giving help, you might find it working with local services, youth offending teams or voluntary organisations and community groups to help young people grow and develop, both personally and socially — be it through counselling, mentoring, liaising with authorities or organising activities.
You can enter youth work as a volunteer or paid worker, or qualify through a youth work apprenticeship to earn £23,250 to £37,500 a year.
9. Army officer
Leadership training opens you up to a world of potential jobs. You could become a platoon commander, helicopter pilot, intelligence officer, logistics officer, or even work in military medicine and healthcare.
You’ll need five A* to C-grade GCSEs and two A levels, and will have to pass an aptitude and ability and fitness test, and attend an interview — all before another, more rigorous assessment to see if you’re mentally and physically capable. But if you are, you could end up earning between £27,273 and £42,009 a year.